This morning while I was reading about gentrification in Berlin, I clicked through to an interesting overview of homeownership and renting in England and Wales over the last century. Here’s a video. If you can’t see it below, click here.

The video starts in 1918, where the vast majority of households (77%) rented. As of 2011, this number has reversed. 64% of households in England and Wales now own their home.

If you compare this housing trend to what happened in the United States and Canada, you’ll see a similarity. Although, the US was ahead in terms of promoting homeownership. They reached 50% ownership somewhere in the mid 1940s, whereas England and Wales didn’t reach this number until around 1971.


All of this is an interesting reminder that our obsession with homeownership is a relatively new one. But it’s also not a universal one. The homeownership rate in Berlin is 15.6%, and it’s only 49.5% in London. People in big cities tend to rent more.